Thursday, June 13, 2024

Short Takes – 6-13-24 – Space Geek Edition

NASA says it accidentally sent out an emergency signal meant for training purposes. article. Pull quote: ““This audio was inadvertently misrouted from an ongoing simulation where crew members and ground teams train for various scenarios in space and is not related to a real emergency,” the ISS said. “The International Space Station crew members were in their sleep period at the time. All remain healthy and safe, and tomorrow’s spacewalk will start at 8 a.m. EDT as planned.””

Fifth helium leak detected on Starliner. article. Pull quote: “NASA closed the helium manifolds in the propulsion system after docking to stop the leaks, although they will have to be opened to use the spacecraft’s thrusters for undocking and deorbit maneuvers. NASA said June 10 that engineers estimate that Starliner has enough helium to support 70 hours of flight operations, while only seven hours is needed for Starliner to return to Earth.”

As NASA watches Starship closely, here’s what the agency wants to see next. article. Pull quote: “This timeline is consistent with what NASA's Human Landing System program manager, Lisa Watson-Morgan recently told Ars. It provides a useful benchmark to evaluate Starship's progress in NASA's eyes. The "prop transfer demo" is a fairly complex mission that involves the launch of a "Starship target" from the Starbase facility in South Texas. Then a second vehicle, the "Starship chaser," will launch and meet the target in orbit and rendezvous. The chaser will then transfer a quantity of propellant to the target spaceship.”

Stoke Space ignites its ambitious main engine for the first time. article. Pull quote: “Such an engine—this technology has only previously been demonstrated in flight by SpaceX's Raptor engine, on the Starship rocket—is more efficient and should theoretically extend turbine life. But it is also technically demanding to develop, and among the most complex engine designs for a rocket company to begin with. This is not rocket science. It's exceptionally hard rocket science.”

ESA-China moon cooperation could end with Chang’e-6. article. Pull quote: ““ESA will not cooperate on ILRS [China-led International Lunar Research Station] as this is a Sino-Russian initiative and space cooperation with Russia is at present under embargo,” Bergquist stated.”

SpaceX Starship Flight 5 Timeline Teased By Musk Along With Big Heat Shield Upgrade. article. Pull quote: “Consequently, Musk believes that the fifth Starship test flight will take place in a month. Speaking with viewers on an X livestream, the executive shared that the "next launch, Starship launch is probably in about a month." A key reason behind this long timeline is Starship's heat shield. As is the case with other spacecraft, Starship's heat shield is one of its most complex components. SpaceX uses thousands of tiles to build the heat shield. According to Musk, before the next flight SpaceX will upgrade the rocket's heat shield tiles.”

Apex raises $95 million to increase satellite bus production. article. Pull quote: “He added that the company would also use some funding to shore up supply chains and bring production of some components in-house. “Our preference is always to be able to work with suppliers, but we have some of our suppliers being very transparent with us and saying that at a certain order volume, they’re just not able to produce at that volume,” he said, declining to identify specific components where his company is seeing stresses in the supply chain.” 

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